|January 10, 2013
Neuroscience, historical trauma and Native Games to meet at Salish Kootenai College this summer
By Lailani Upham
Alex Alviar demostrates lacrosse moves to in fall of 2011. Alviar will participate in a conference at Salish Kootenai College in June that will explore the relationships between neuroscience, historical trauma and native games. (file photo)
PABLO — Connecting sciences and native historical trauma might not draw a parallel to one’s mind – however, it is the vertebrae of a unique conference being hosted by Salish Kootenai College and International Traditional Games Society in June.
Keynote speaker is Dr. Gregory Cajete, Native American Studies Director at the University of New Mexico and Associate Professor in the Division of Language, Literacy and Socio Cultural Studies.
The International Conference of Traditional Native Games is June 26 – 27.
The conference will also feature guest speakers Oren Lyons, traditional Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, and a member of the Onondoga Nation Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy; and Sergio Pellis, an ethologist and professor at the Canadian Centre for Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
Other presenters and workshops are: Alex Alviar, Lacrosse Instructor; Jeremy Red Eagle for field youth competitions; Lamarr Oksasikewiyin for Games from Saskatchewan; D.A. Leader for Brain studies Implications for Education; Bryan Brazill for game tournaments; Robert Upham for History of Lacrosse; Jake McCoy, First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park; Dr. Wade Davies for Natives and Sports; Done Racine III, Nature Seasons and Game Equipment; Tim Ryan, Environment and Tools; Ken “Tuffy” Helgeson, Evolution of ancient games into modern sports; Arleen Adams, Permission to Play: The “Blanket” games and Cultural Traditions; and Gyda Swaney, Historical Trauma and Loss of Games.
More presenters and workshops are still being confirmed, according to ITGS Executive Director, Craig Falcon.
The goal for the conference is to bring Native culture and academic experts together with scientists working in the field of social intelligence and neurobiology of the brain to discuss “the mind of America” as reflected in the passionate interest for past and present sports play, says Board of Directors DeeAnna Brady-Leader.
“The mind evolved from thousands of years of the Americas’ indigenous peoples’ culture of games. Post-contact with western civilization, vigorous team and individual competitions connected Native people with spirit, healing and power. Post-contact with Europeans, those concepts combined with Western thought to become the structured sports events of today. The past 20 years of research neuobiologists have brought new insights into the human experience of ‘play’ as the basic emotional underpinnings of ‘joy,’ Brady-Leader explained.
Early registration for the conference for adults is $325 and $125 for youth before March 30 and will include all three meals. After this date registration is $375 for adults and $175 for youth.
Attendees include museum personnel, tribal agency personnel, Native American Studies students and instructors, department personnel for K-12 Indian Education Curriculum specialists, and anthropologists.
Breaking down some of the educational barriers in public schools and universities is another drive for the three-day conference, says Falcon.
“The conference goal is to take modern brain research of today and ancient teaching from tribes and enhance the skills by reaching a better understanding of Natives. Breaking down stereotypes and to also educate on cell memory and how it works with native people,” Falcon stated.
Cell memory is often thought of as “the complete blueprint of one’s existence,” according to some scientific theorists.
Some theorists also say cells of the body retain memories independently from the brain. However, many scientific authorities dispute the concept of cellular memory, arguing that phenomena which are attributed to cell memory probably have more straightforward explanations.
Bottom line: the idea behind cell memory is that cells can store memories about experiences, sensations, taste, habits, and other core aspects of someone’s identity. Promoters of the theory believe memories are stored through the exchange of chemicals between cells, just like they are stored in the brain.
Theorists believe that cells may also be able to store information related to traumatic experiences.
The ITGS, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1997 by tribal college presidents housed on the Blackfeet Reservation and Alberta, Canada, and works to research, restore and re-introduce Native American Indian games.
For more information and to download registration forms, visit www.traditionalnativegames.org or call Craig Falcon at (406) 226-9141.